Learning Session "D" - Tuesday April 28, 2020 12:45pm - 2:00pm

Student Oriented Workshop

Youth in Care or Alumni of Care Led Workshop

D1     Meeting the Challenge - Strategies From The Field For Increasing Rates of FAFSA

Completion Among Foster Youth

Tia Holiday, Education Manager, John Burton Advocates for Youth


Since the launch of the California Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Programs (FYSCP) across the state have MET THE CHALLENGE, increasing the rate of FAFSA completion among foster youth from 45% to 57%. This workshop will highlight best practices from the field, including collaboration across FYSCPs, school districts, child welfare agencies, housing providers, probation and local colleges. You will walk away from this workshop with tools, templates, and resources to continue increasing the rate of FAFSA completion among foster youth in our area.


D2     School of Origin – Statewide Data on California Implementation

Alaina Moonves-Leb, Senior Staff Attorney, Alliance for Children's Rights

Jill Rowland, Education Program Director, Alliance for Children's Rights

Danielle Wondra, Senior Associate, Children Now

Former Foster Youth to be named


With an average of 8 school changes, youth lose up to 4 years of learning during their time in care and face the continuing trauma of reestablishing academic and social relationships. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires districts and child welfare to work together to arrange and fund transportation to school of origin (SOO). Learn the basics of SOO law, including the intersections of Federal and California requirements. Learn the results of a statewide public records act request seeking ESSA plans, SOO practices, data demonstrating trends in implementation, highlighted best practices, and areas where improvement is needed.


D3     Expectant and Parenting Youth: Promoting Educational Success Through Collaboration

Bernadette Medina Gholami, MSW, Social Worker, Public Counsel

Mara Ziegler, LCSW, Senior Social Worker, Public Counsel

Barbara Facher, MSW, Social Worker, Alliance for Children's Rights


Come will learn about Los Angeles County’s collaborative model of working with expectant and parenting youth (EPY) in foster care to ensure they are enrolled in school and working to reach their educational goals. Using case vignettes and group discussion, participants will learn how to effectively support EPY identify and remove barriers to school enrollment and completion. Only about 50% of teen mothers get a high school diploma by age 22.  Since teens in foster care are more than two and a half times more likely to become pregnant than their peers that are not in foster care, youth in the child welfare system are at greater risk of parenting that can impede their education. However, with proper support and advocacy, these outcomes can change and these parenting youth can remain in school and achieve their educational aspirations.


D4  Foster Youth Leadership and Empowerment Council (FYLEC): Supporting School Stability and Foster Youth Voice

Jennifer Rios-Zambrano, Ed.D, LMFT, SHHS Specialist, LAUSD - Student Support Programs

Students – LAUSD FYLEC members  

Specialized Student Population Counselors - LAUSD - Student Support Programs


Come imagine the many possibilities for those within helping professions to support and assist in building self-advocacy among foster youth in educational and community settings.   Youth, administrators, and counselors from the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Student Support Program will share youth engagement activities that have evolved over time, leading to successful establishment of Foster Youth Leadership and Empowerment Council throughout the program. Foster youth are exposed to leadership building tools, educated on their rights and laws that protect them, postsecondary education and career building tools, and etc.  The Foster Youth Leadership and Empowerment Council is in its fourth year of development and implementation, and is currently at 52 LAUSD high schools throughout the district.


D5     Finding Your Financial Why and How: Using Hip Hop Pedagogy to Build Life Skills

Andrea Ferrero, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Pockets Change

Dyalekt, Director of Pedagogy, Pockets Change


We start forming our money habits as early as 7 years old, and those habits inform our life-long relationship with money. Find your money personality, discuss strategies to building a savings habit because when we reflect on our past and build skills for our present, we can reach our goals in the future. During this workshop we'll explore our relationship with money, prioritizing spending with personal values, taking action to reach savings goals, and strategies to earn income based on individual strengths. Understanding our finances impacts more than our wallets, it’s critical to empowering ourselves and our communities.


D6     Increasing Capacity for Empathy and its Implications for Student Success 

Christopher Hoang, Assistant Principal, Learn 4 Life

Alexis Kling, Program Specialist, Learn 4 Life


What is empathy and how does it make you feel?  Do you think it is on the decline?  How do you increase your empathetic capacity and the capacity of those around you? Come learn and discuss the cognitive, psychological, and biological dynamics of empathy including strategies for increasing capacity in order to positively impact your life and your students’ self-efficacy, specifically, their perceived ability to cope with stressors.



D7     It Takes A Village!  How to Help Foster Youth Go to Other Agencies to Get Help!

Larry Robbin, Executive Director, Robbin and Associates


It takes a village of services to help foster youth become successful, but foster youth are often resistant to being referred.  Referral for many foster youth is not an information process, it requires a special counseling skill.  This innovative workshop based on the feedback of foster youth about referral, introduces the skill of referral counseling.  Learn to discuss referral in ways that reduce hidden resistance to referral and increase the motivation foster of youth to use other services.  If you want foster youth to be successful, help them access the village of services that they need!

Access to supportive relationships with people who understand trauma is one of the key research-based strategies for mitigating the impact of toxic stress from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Using our innovative model designed to fill the emerging need for trained peer mentors, Just in Time for Foster Youth will share our innovative Coach Approach to Mentoring (CA2M) curriculum for staff, volunteers and, most significantly, youth participants that shifts the mentoring mindset from the tendency to “judge, tell and fix” to “understanding, asking and empowering.” Young people discover their own solutions in powerful partnership with their peers and caring adults.

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Student Oriented Workshops